Max Read Recounts How #GamerGate Helped Destroy Gawker

Filled with misinformation, poorly sourced facts and a quote that doesn’t actually exist from one of the citations called into account, a seemingly final screed from Max Read on behalf of Gawker about its eventual downfall is an entertainment roller coaster. Long winded, self-righteous and completely devoid of accountability, the diatribe dictated through strained text tells a tale of how Gawker was wronged by all the right people, groups and institutions… one of which includes #GamerGate.

Kotaku in Action was quick to pick out the piece that was published over on New York Magazine on August 19th, 2016, which tries its darnedest to absolve Gawker of wrongdoing. Max tries even harder to misreport key points of information that led to the downfall of the company. But would you expect any less from its former editor-in-chief and one of its co-conspirators in pushing tabloid-tier outrage-bait?

Amusingly enough, out of the 6000 words used to recount his time at Gawker, former editor-in-chief Max Read carves out an entire section to #GamerGate, explaining the role it played in the site’s eventual demise at the hands of Hulk Hogan, Peter Thiel and a clear-cut case of privacy invasion.

The section is a lovingly staunch defense of Gawker in the face of a movement dedicated to ethics in journalism. Max starts by misinforming readers about one of the catalysts that helped kickstart #GamerGate, writing…

“Gamergate, a leaderless online movement dedicated to enforcing its own unique vision of “ethics in journalism,” had first taken up with Gawker Media the summer before, in 2014. Earlier that year, a writer for Kotaku had had a brief fling with a well-known video-game developer. In August, the developer’s ex-boyfriend, a 24-year-old computer programmer, wrote a 10,000-word blog post about her, spawning rumors that she’d traded sex for a positive review of her game on Kotaku. That no such review ever actually appeared on the site should tell you a lot about Gamergate’s relationship to the truth; that Gamergaters believe this is how sex works should tell you a lot about the Gamergate demographic.”

Petty potshots aside, one Eron Gjoni – the ex-boyfriend of Zoe Quinn and the who wrote The Zoe Post – never once mentioned the word “review” in the post. There was never any mention of a game journalist reviewing Quinn’s game. The actual charge from the community was positive coverage from Kotaku’s Nathan Grayson while he was intimately engaged with the subject, Zoe Quinn. It was also later revealed that $800 had exchanged hands between Grayson and Quinn, as admitted to by Grayson, for which that was also not disclosed.

It was a matter of disclosure.

That’s not counting the media narrative pushing that happened in the cabal known as the Game Journo Pros, as reported by Breitbart, or all the other forms of corruption that surfaced past and presence since, most of which have been indexed over on

There have been countless infractions committed by game and mainstream media journalists since #GamerGate came to be, well beyond what transpired between Grayson and Quinn. The hashtag is also propelled by far more than just “angry teenagers”.

Within Max’s misrepresentation of #GamerGate and the people behind it — he conveniently leaves out those who used #NotYourShield — there are elements of self awareness and an almost congratulatory admiration to #GamerGate’s diligence, where he writes…

“What I’d missed about Gamergate was that they were gamers — they had spent years developing a tolerance for highly repetitive tasks. Like, say, contacting major advertisers.


“On Reddit, a campaign was launched to contact every advertiser Gamergaters could find on Gawker’s site — and not just the marketing departments of advertisers like Adobe and BMW, but specific executives. If you can bug a chief marketing officer, it doesn’t matter that your complaints are disingenuous: He just wants to stop being annoyed.”

Max explains how the e-mail campaign dubbed “Operation Disrespectful Nod” actually sent Gawker’s executives into panic mode.

The article states…

“Gawker went into full-on crisis mode. Our chief revenue officer flew to Chicago to meet shaky clients; someone I hadn’t spoken with since high school Facebook-messaged me to let me know that her employer, L.L.Bean, a Gawker advertiser, was considering pulling its ads. “

The article also explains how Denton had people drafting apologies; it explains how some people didn’t agree with apologizing; it explains how some people publishing apologies for the apologies sent the office into general chaos. Ultimately, they were bleeding money and they had to make it stop.

According to Max Read, Gawker lost “thousands of dollars”… “at least”, which contradicts the millions that were claimed to have been lost by some other outlets. He doesn’t go into detail on exactly how much they lost between standard ads and native ads, but writes…

“[…] Gawker had taken a hit — thousands of dollars of advertising gone, at least. But in the weeks we’d been hemorrhaging advertisers and goodwill, stories in the New York Times and other outlets — the real media—and a segment on The Colbert Report made it clear that the Gamergaters were the bad guys in this case, not us.”

The final part of the #GamerGate section in Max’s piece reads like a hurt puppy asking why it was left out in the wintry cold, fused with the snide defiance to never admit defeat. You can almost hear the tears dripping onto the keyboard between the clatter of keys rapping and tapping away, pausing only for sniffles to be sniffed and the salt from cheeks to be wiped.

Max begrudgingly acknowledges the continued thorn that #GamerGate proved to be in the side of Gawker, leading all the way to its demise, writing…

“Gamergate proved the power of well-organized reactionaries to threaten Gawker’s well-being. And when Gawker really went too far — far enough that even our regular defenders in the media wouldn’t step up to speak for us — Gamergate was there, in the background, turning every crisis up a notch or two and making continued existence impossible.”

The reality is that we have no real, concrete value of just how much damage #GamerGate did to Gawker. We don’t know how much of a wind the hashtag blew into the tower that helped topple over an empire that was hit by Hulk Hogan’s legal tornado.

At the end of the day, the only thing we know for sure is that a lot of Gawker’s writers were butthurt over #GamerGate’s efforts, and that the e-mail campaigns did enough damage to Gawker’s bottom line to force the executives into panic mode. None of that really matters now given that Max Read is no longer’s editor-in-chief and will no longer exist as of next week.

(Main image courtesy of Gargus)